'I dared to tel ': Young Paraguayan men's navigation of contrasting normative masculinities and their romantic relationships Open Access

Fleming, Paul Joseph (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/tm70mv83t?locale=en


Background: As emerging adults, adolescents try to create their gender identity for their peers and
community. Romantic and sexual relationships are a way that young men can define
themselves and their masculine identity. However, young men's resulting sexual decisions
can affect their successful transition into the man they want to be, as well as STI and HIV
rates, and rates of adolescent pregnancies. Peer groups and families play a big role in
shaping young men's perceptions of normative behavior. Men can use their health-related
behaviors to construct their masculinity. Behaviors that can be negative for young men's
health actually can be normative and help improve their social status and negotiation of
Methods: In the Bañado Sur neighborhood in Asuncion, Paraguay, five focus groups were
conducted with male peer groups ranging in age from 14 to 19. The peer groups were
asked about normative behaviors for young men in their neighborhood and about romantic
and sexual relationship dynamics. Half the members from each peer group were selected to
participate in individual interviews that examined the same topics but from an individual
perspective. The qualitative data were analyzed to understand dynamics between
relationship behaviors and masculine identity for young men in the neighborhood.
Results: Two different types of masculine norms were described ('provider' and 'macho man') as
well as two different types of romantic relationships ('casual' and 'formal'). The language
used to describe each spectrum of behaviors was very similar and represented the
connection between masculine norms and romantic relationships. In addition, the perceived
norms for the neighborhood were much more 'macho man' than the reported behaviors of
the young men.
Conclusions: Perceived norms cannot change unless young men are willing to speak out about
their 'non-normative' behaviors. Because of the risk for teasing, few young men are willing
to do this. This provides an evidence base for needing more information on actual attitudes
and behaviors of young men (compared to the prevailing thought about those attitudes and
behaviors). In addition, interventions should give young men a space to speak out about
'non-normative' behaviors in order to begin changing norms.

Table of Contents

1.1 Research Questions
1.2 Specific aims
1.3 Significance
Review of the Literature
2.1 Masculinity, sexual health and relationship behaviors of men
2.2 Social environment and interaction of adolescent boys
2.3 Latino masculinity and the Paraguay context
2.4 Summary
3.1 Overview
3.2 Ethical Considerations
3.3 Study Site
3.4 Study Population
3.5 Data Collection Methods
3.6 Participant Recruitment
3.7 Data Collection Process
3.8 Data Analysis
3.9 Data Quality and Limitations
4.1 Masculinity and its influences in the Bañado Sur
4.1.1 Young men's conceptualization of masculine behavior
4.1.2 Which male prototype?
4.1.3 Who influences the young men?
4.1.4 Who do the young men listen to?
4.1.5 How are the young men's gender norms influenced?
4.2 Masculine behavioral norms and the young men's behaviors
4.2.1 Relationships
4.2.2 Sex and condom use
4.2.3 Drinking, smoking and drugs
5.1 Misperception of the norms
5.2 Perceived norms and behavioral theory
5.3 Potential responses for the community
5.4 Implications for future research
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Appendix 4
Appendix 5

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